Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Chang & Grabel on The End of The Neoliberal Approach To Development

The following is an extract from Ha-Joon Chang and Ilene Grabel's new book Reclaiming Development: An Alternative Economic Policy Manual :
We should take note of what we see as the beginning of the end of the neoliberal approach to development. The process of discrediting that development model begins in the aftermath of the east Asian financial crisis of 1997–98. At the time there appeared to be nothing new in the nature of the east Asian crisis or in the crisis response. But, in fact, the east Asian crisis marked the gradual beginning of the end of the neoliberal consensus in the development community. The severe constraints on policy space that followed the east Asian crisis created momentum behind a new vision – that developing countries had to put in place new strategies and institutions to prevent a repeat of the events of the late 1990s. Policymakers in a number of Asian countries and in other successful developing countries sought to insulate themselves from the hardships and humiliations suffered by east Asian policymakers at the hands of the IMF. Indeed, as a consequence of the crisis, the IMF suffered a loss of purpose, standing and relevance. In the early 2000s, demand for the institution's resources was at a historic low. In 2005, just six countries had standby arrangements with the fund, the lowest number since 1975. From 2003 to 2007, the fund's loan portfolio shrank dramatically: from $105bn (£63bn) to less than $10bn. The fund's loan portfolio contracted even further after the loans associated with the east Asian crisis were repaid, as those countries that could afford to do so deliberately turned away from the institution. This trend radically curtailed the geography of the IMF's influence. In this context, the IMF began to soften its traditional opposition to policies that regulate the international movement of capital (ie policies called "capital controls"). At the same time, the World Bank also began to show signs of grudging change in its traditional opposition to industrial policy.
Read the rest here.

Note: Chang & Grabel's book has an introduction written by Robert Hunter Wade. Although I could not transcribe parts of his intro into this post, let it be known that much of Wade's position with respect to the topic at hand is illustrated here.

3 comments:

  1. That is factually wrong. What happened after the East Asian Crisis is that East Asian countries embraced the "neoliberal approach", some of them radically liberalized their capital account (e.g. Korea).

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